Just recently Microsoft announced its move to combine CRM and ERP within a single solution called Dynamics 365. Ever wondered why bother about these two systems together? There is one possible reason for that, and it lends the title to this article.

crm and erp

Why operational data is critical to CXM

The customer as a construct has multiple dimensions, and every department – marketing, sales, operations, customer service – has its own perspective from their particular standpoint confined by the specifics of their responsibilities.

So with the picture of the customer fractioned by several departments, how can you ensure that the customer still perceives their individual experience with your brand as frictionless? That they don’t see all the behind-the-scenes work but enjoy consistent interactions at every stage of their personal journey? That they have their issues addressed proactively?

Although each of the customer-facing teams can excel in their own jobs, together they may act desynchronized due to the disparity of data silos they use. As a result, customers are stumbling down from one stage to another and flying out of the sales pipeline as soon as the painful purchasing process is over, never to return again.

In particular, customer experience management (CXM) is historically owned by marketing. Operations historically own everything that happens during and after customer acquisition. But don’t they overlap? They do, and it is marketing that’s left craving for operational data to get a sneak peek at customers’ post-purchase experience. The one that has to do with customer reengagement, loyalty and retention, and that also directly affects the customer lifetime value and therefore business growth potency on the whole.

Extending CXM to the post-purchase phase would mean granting CX managers the access to such critical touchpoints as product quality and returns, delivery, billing, customer service, maintenance and so on. For example, how would your CX team know if your company sent the wrong invoice or delayed a delivery? One of the obvious ways is to ask customers through the voice of the customer programsbecause the functionality is right there, in the CRM system. But that’s almost always delayed in time and doesn’t bring immediate insights. Also, the selection of respondents may be not representational.

Another way is to monitor screwed-up service cases individually as they happen before customers voice their concerns or just leave quietly through the door. It is operational data that lifts the curtain over CX-critical details so that you can be the first to address the issue or, in the worst case scenario, to trace back why you have lost that customer and prevent similar cases in the future.

How to get it in the CRM

In practice, this post-purchase CXM extension is about integrating the CRM system with a line of customer-related operational applications. Contained within an ERP, order processing system, quality management system, customer service management applications, etc. the operational data that serves CXM well can be listed as follows:

  • Customer orders.
  • Delivery.
  • Billing.
  • Returns.
  • Refunds.
  • Financial summary (invoice history, outstanding charges).
  • Customer service cases, including those via the call center, self-service portals and field service.

Customer master data synchronization should also be in place to ensure that all the involved departments are on the same page. It mostly deals with data quality, i.e. ensuring there is a single version of true data that’s complete, clean and accessible across integrated applications.

Wrapping up

Ideally, this approach can result in seamless synchronization of operational applications with the CRM system, where the latter becomes a CXM hub that aggregates customer-critical data in real-time. This would help to ensure higher visibility into the post-purchase customer experience and balance it by timely addressing all the bumps and slips that may happen along the journey.

Author: ScienceSoft